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Kerala SEB signs pact to buy power from traders

According to reports, the Kerala State Electricity Board has entered into long-term pacts with suppliers for procuring power even as a munificent monsoon is fast filling up its reservoirs.

It has signed up with NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd for 300 MW for three years from March next year and with Power Trading Corporation for another 100 MW, an official spokesman said.

The aim is to avert a situation witnessed earlier this year when the board was reduced to scraping the bottom of the reservoirs to generate its staple hydro-electric power.

The State has had to undergo punishing day and night load-shedding schedule for domestic consumers while industrial consumers have had to put up with restricted supplies.

But a surplus monsoon has helped change the picture entirely and raised the overall reservoir level to a comfortable-looking 60 per cent as of yesterday.

Respective reservoir leveIs stood at 56 per cent in Idukki, the largest; 60 per cent at Pampa and Sholayar; 66 per cent at Idamalayar; 50 per cent at Mattupetty; and 91 per cent at Kuttiyadi.

The agreements with power traders commit the board to pay up for the quantum contracted whether or not it consumes it, the spokesman said.

NTPC Vidut Vyapar Nigam will provide power at Rs 4.49 per unit from its plant at Chhattisgarh. As per bidding norms, the provider can route power from any plant in any part of the country.

The capacity of the electricity board to use up the power being procured is doubtful given the prospects of generation of adequate hydro-power from within the State.

The outgo on this count could adversely affect the finances of the board prompting it to plump for the next best option, which is to sell excess power being generated now to exchanges.

The board has started selling power at Rs 5 per unit from Friday last. The agreement with NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd was signed on Thursday, the spokesman said.

D. Dinesh, chief engineer, commercial and tariff, Kerala State Electricity Board, and N.K. Sharma, chief executive of the NTPC company, signed the agreement in the presence of Aryadan Muhammed, Electricity Minister.

Also present were Nivedita P. Haran, Principal Secretary, Power; M. Sivasankar, Chairman, Kerala State Electricity Board; and Annamma John, member of the board.

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